With litters of kittens needing some extra love until they're ready for adoption or for dogs who could use a change of scenery, foster care is the ideal place to house homeless pets.
But finding and recruiting people to foster animals in your community can sometimes be a challenge.
The reason I hear the most from people is that they're afraid to get attached, and I don't think it has much to do with not wanting to give them back, but I think people have a lot of anxiety about where the animal(s) will end up, and if they will have a great life.
Working in sheltering for almost 15 years, I've fostered a lot of kittens and a handful of dogs, but I've also seen a lot of animals returned and found stray--I still look back at the photos of all my fosters and hope they lived happy, full lives.
I’ve fostered about 30 dogs. My main concern is that they get along with my four dogs, and I know certain dogs like adult pits and seniors will most likely take longer to find a home than a cute puppy (even though the puppies are usually more work).
The ONE time I agreed to foster a litter of 8 week old puppies (I got talked into it because, yes, it'll be hard but it's a short time commitment and they'll be gone soon), the last puppy in the group was with me for over THREE MONTHS (because by then, younger/smaller/cuter puppies were available to adopt...).
I would like to foster a cat or kittens, but I’m concerned that my two cats will go crazy. I had my daughter’s two cats in a separate closed bedroom in our house for a short time and our cats hissed, lunged at the door, and were hissing at us. I tried feeding our cats and the other two cats at the same time on each side of the door, but our cats still went berserk and wouldn’t eat, just hiss. It took days after the daughter’s cats left for our cats to settle down.
The reasons I hear are expense, upset the current chemistry in house with existing pets causing negative behaviors especially with cats, becoming attached and no time.
People I talk to said they would become to attached to the kittens and couldn't keep them but would have trouble giving them back: for this reason they can not do it. Other said upsetting the other animals in the house.
I hear the "I'll get too attached" reason so often and it genuinely frustrates me!! I understand concerns like cost, space, or upsetting your pets or exposing them to something. But this one... I need a kind way to explain that these animals are literally going to die if someone isn't willing to foster them, and "I'm worried I'll cry when they find a home" is not a reason to let them die :/
Some people really are not made to foster but I encourage everyone who is interested and capable of it to at least TRY. They may find that letting go is easier than they thought. OR they may find that, while hard, it is SO rewarding to see them off to a new home. It's so very different from losing a pet to death. I have known people who really were just too attached and didn't foster again. There are people who can't ever let them go and then end up with 'too many cats' and have to stop fostering. I wish more people would at least give it a go with a nice easy adult cat (IMO, the easiest of the various populations).
As foster coordinator for our shelter, I find that the main reasons for people being hesitant to foster pets is due to having cats and wanting to foster a dog that does not like cats, or aggression towards other dogs keep them from fostering our dogs as well .
This is definitely a major challenge! When we have a dog that is not dog or cat friendly, it’s basically impossible to find a foster home for them.
I have fostered repeatedly for a year and was told I’d be reimbursed for food etc. Not one penny. The rescue took advantage of its volunteers.
That's awful. Were financial responsibilities clearly outlined before you took fosters home, ideally in the foster contract?
Live and learn. Things had been done by word. Obviously someone is not good to their word. I’m educating and sharing so more will know we have reached a critical point in rescue and details must be outlined in writing. Those who are not true to their word need to get out of rescue; there’s enough struggles without their drama. I have documented what has been spent and will submit in writing that since this was not reimbursed it is being reported to the state as a donation.
Stress to my existing pets and exposure to transmittable disease.